Family of Local Colorado Shooting Survivor Speaks Out
FOREST, Ohio — Two Ohio men are among the dead and injured in Friday morning’s mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, Fox 8 News reports.
Matt McQuinn, of Springfield, Ohio, was one of the 12 killed. McQuinn was attempting to provide cover for his girlfriend when he was hit, a family attorney, Robert L. Scott, told CNN.
He saved Samantha Yowler’s life, though she was hit by a bullet, Scott said. She is recovering at the hospital.
John Massara tells Fox 8 News that his nephews, 18-year-old Gage Hankins and 14-year-old Jackson Hankins, were in Theater 8 at the Century Aurora 16 multiplex early Friday morning for a midnight screening of the Batman sequel The Dark Knight Rises.
About 20 minutes into the movie, the boys heard gunshots and smelled smoke in the air.
“They thought it was part of the show,” their father, Dave Hankins, told Fox 8 News.
Gage then felt a sensation in his arm, thinking, at first, he’d been hit with a firecracker.
In reality, a bullet had traveled through the wall of the adjacent Theater 9, where police say 24-year-old James E. Holmes stormed in and carried out a catastrophic attack, shooting nearly 70 people, 12 of whom died.
The brothers, not yet aware of the massacre next door, immediately fled the theater. That’s when, Dave Hankins says, his sons realized what had happened, and that Gage had been shot. Jackson was uninjured.
A Good Samaritan applied pressure to Gage’s wound; a gunshot between his elbow and wrist, “about the size of a 50-cent piece,” Hankins said.
But he didn’t want help for himself.
“Gage saw that his injury was not life-threatening, and told the medics to go back inside to help the others,” Massara said.
Gage’s father isn’t surprised by his son’s selflessness.
“It’s the way he is,” Dave Hankins told Fox 8 News. “He’s was that way all through school, sports … his track coach played a big part in encouraging Gage to help other people.”
“Gage has always been a team player,” Massara said. “He is a very mature, responsible young man.”
The Hankins are in Denver for the Friends convention, The National Association of Young People Who Stutter. It’s a trip the family has taken every summer since Gage was diagnosed as a little boy.
“The Friends members are like family to Gage,” Hankins said.
And despite having had surgery Friday to remove three pieces of shrapnel from his arm, Gage wanted to participate in some the convention’s activities on Saturday.
“He’s tired and sore, and his pain medication makes him a little loopy, but he’s with his friends and is happy,” Hankins said. “We thought Gage was tough; he’s a lot tougher than we thought. His strength in the emergency room set the bar for us.”
The family met with counselors Saturday afternoon and are “doing well.” They’ll return home to Forest, Ohio, either late Sunday evening or early Monday morning.
Hankins says he’s thankful for his family’s safety while sad for the lives that were lost.
Gage, a 2012 graduate of Riverdale High School, will attend Mount Union University in the fall, where he’ll study athletic training. It’s a challenge he is “very excited” for, his father said.
Moving forward, Hankins urges people to return to normalcy, and not be scared of going to the movies.
“It’s a situation that was random. Don’t let the bad guys win.”
– CNN contributed to this report.